Police fear dead baby was burnt in oven

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The Independent Online

A baby boy who died in hospital after being found at a house in south-east London may have been burnt in an oven, police said yesterday.

A baby boy who died in hospital after being found at a house in south-east London may have been burnt in an oven, police said yesterday.

The three-week-old died nine hours after paramedics were called to the house in the early hours of Thursday. A 39-year- old woman, believed to be his mother, was later arrested and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Upon arrival at the house in Peckham, the ambulance crew discovered that the infant had extensive burns. While he was not found in the oven, a police source confirmed that officers were trying to establish whether he had been burnt in the cooker.

Detective Chief Inspector David Marshall, who is leading the inquiry, said yesterday: "This was a tragic and traumatic incident and a family liaison officer has been appointed to the family. Detectives from the child protection command major investigation team will be conducting house-to-house inquiries and speaking to witnesses already identified. The examination of the scene will continue."

A London Ambulance spokesman said: "We were the first at the scene and found the baby had sustained severe burns. He was given extensive treatment and conveyed as an emergency to hospital." A Scotland Yard spokesman added: "We were called at 3.45am yesterday [Thursday] by the ambulance to a baby suffering injuries. The three-week-old was taken to King's College Hospital suffering burns and died at 1.05pm."

A post-mortem examination was carried out on the boy at Great Ormond Street mortuary, but detectives would not disclose the cause of death. Police said arrangements were being made for an inquest to be opened. Officers were searching the house where the baby was found.